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Will moving website to new platform hurt local SEO

Posted on 2015-01-12
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I have a client that is hesitent to redesign their site in fear that they will lose rankings in Google.  Currently the site is being hosted by and uses the Hubspot platform. They are looking to more to WordPress and would be hosted on WPengine.  Lets say all things are equal as far as the amount of text and the title tags, the question is moving the site's platform hurt their local SEO?  is this something that is kind of an unknown until we try, or can I confidently say the rankings should stay the same.
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Question by:jason94024
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Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 40545317
is this something that is kind of an unknown until we try, or can I confidently say the rankings should stay the same.

Any time you significantly change a site's content or design, you will likely trigger Google to perform a recalculation and the results of that recalculation can be unpredictable.

The biggest gotcha in the process is if you change the URL structure.  If that happens (e.g. site.com/pagename.php to site.com/pagename) you are guaranteed to get nailed for a 10-25% hit in your positioning until Google figures things out and completes the recalculation.  No amount of redirection will prevent this and the recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Otherwise, it is a bit of an unknown but the good news is that every site I've ever moved to WordPress from some other platform has ended up significantly outperforming the previous platform over time.  If you use one of the many excellent SEO plugins to tweak the site, add a sitemap, etc. the results can be pretty spectacular.  For example, the chart below is from a site where we switched to WordPress in December of 2013:

GA sessions
You can see an immediate dip in January, followed by a slow recovery and hold until about August.  In August, Google figured things out and began ranking us better than before and growth happened.  The time frame was slow because this site has about 10,000 pages of content so the recalc took longer.
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by:jason94024
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great answer, thanks for the insight.
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